early spring

Happy New Year!

Down here in southern-ish,western-ish England it has been a very mild winter so far. There has been just enough frost to knock down the dahlias and their like, but not so much cold weather that the grass has stopped growing. It hasn’t and could soon do with a mow. I was listening to an interesting story on this morning’s BBC news concerning the early blooming of wild flowers in south Wales, not so very far from here as the crow flies.

The story http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16465 133 concerns a survey conducted by Dr. Tim Rich of the National Museum of Wales and Dr. Sarah  Whild of Birmingham University, who  found 63 species of plants in flower around Cardiff. In a more normal year, 20-30 species typically flower through the winter.
The story resonated with me as I have begun the spring tidy in the garden and noticed plants in flower here that are not normally winter blooming. Beside my pond a clump of campanula portenschlagiana is flowering cheerfully, the blue bells clear against fresh green leaves. It is a plant I both love and hate. I love it for the endless nectar and pollen it supplies in summer for a range of bee species, especially the leaf cutters I love. But is it ever a hooligan, spreading absolutely everywhere and growing in good, bad, indifferent and no soil at all. I have an annual purge at removing most of it. The fact it is annual should tell you all you need to know.
A hollyhock flowering until last week when the gales finally finished it off is another unseasonal specimen. I have never had Christmas flowering hollyhocks before, but this year we had one in full flower. There were plenty of examples of the usual early starters I spotted as I weeded-primroses and primulas, snowdrops, the first buds of species crocus and hellebore, chaenomeles, autumn cherry although the birds were striping the flowers from it energetically, daisies. Further afield, hazel is flowering in the hedgerow and I have calendula, celandine  and ground ivy flowers on the allotment.

I know many people have unseasonal blooms in their gardens and would be interested to know what else might be flowering. Is there anything unusual in your garden?

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9 comments

  1. I’ve got a hollyhock in flower (all be it horizontal!) and rose with still more rose buds appearing. It’s bizarre as they are flowering next to the winter flowering plants like lonicera fragrantisima and cleamtis freckles! i guess it will all work itself out eventually!

  2. portenschlagiana is a big word for a small bloom so thanks for the family id of this Dalmation bellflower which as you say pops up in all sorts of spots! How pretty is the unseasonal hollyhock against the berries and beech hedge. I have fuchsias which have not stopped flowering since the summer and the remains of chrysanths which started blooming last April. Daffs out in the parks and Camellias at Wisley. Nice weather for the time of year but not right – need the ice and snow to sorts the bugs out. Its a bit like Lion Witch and Wardrobe in reverse – where winter never comes. Still I wish you a Happy New Year Judith – love the panoramic header too

    • Thanks for the New Year wishes Laura. Some cold weather would be good now although that view in the header makes for very chilly walking in proper winter conditions! Apart from my walking comfort, I love good cold weather in January.

  3. I agree Judith that it is a very strange atmosphere in the plant world at the moment. I took a picture of snowdrops the other day but they didn’t look HAPPY. I suspect that we are going to get a sudden rebalancing in the form of bitter frosts before the next 6 weeks are out. If we don’t, I think we may be in for a rather disappointing season in the garden.

  4. I think the rebalancing is about to start, judging by how cold it has gone now. Last summer’s fruit bounty was a direct result of the cold spell, so I’m hoping for at least a bit of a repeat, and enough frost to give the plants a period of true dormancy.

  5. The snowdrops have been out down at our end of the hill since before Christmas and this week the yellow crocuses are out. The primroses have been flowering continuously since last July. They’re so familiar now I’ve stopped counting them as unusual.

    I’m glad of last night’s frost – the garlic will benefit from it as well as the fruit :)

  6. Its madness isn’t it! I have a camellia in flower and spring bulbs are forward and still have a campunula flowering away! I also have shrub roses in bloom too. I am enjoying reading your blogs, Thank you!


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